January 17, 2017

Health Care Reform Moves Indian Country Forward

National Indian Organizations Release First Year Review of Health Care Legislation

Marking the one year anniversary of the enactment of health care reform, leading national American Indian and Alaska Native organizations released a report today, highlighting improved health coordination between tribes and federal partners.  

The report, Moving Indian Country Forward: Health Care Reform One Year Later, highlights improved coordination of health care services such as cancer screenings and dialysis treatment, increased resources for tribal, urban, and Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, authorized development of long term care programs, and expanded workforce initiatives in tribal communities.

"Healthy tribal communities are vital to healthy tribal economies, and health care reform advances our efforts in that area," said Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). "The permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) in concert with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been critical to the federal government upholding its trust responsibility to provide health care to the citizens of tribal nations."

The report, co-authored by NCAI, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), and the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), reviews implementation of both pieces of legislation, ongoing tribal consultation, outreach and education efforts, and FY 2012 budget requests related to health care. 

"The journey to bring improved health care to tribal nations has only just begun, and now tribes are able to reach our people that need it most: young adults previously without health insurance, children with pre-existing conditions, and elders seeking more efficient prescription solutions," said Cathy Abramson, Chairwoman of the National Indian Health Board.

"Vital provisions in these bills reach tribal communities where it counts, no matter where tribal citizens live, whether in villages, tribal lands, or in off-reservation communities," said Dr. Patrick Rock, President of the National Council of Urban Indian Health.

About the National Congress of American Indians:  
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit www.ncai.org. 

About the National Indian Health Board

The National Indian Health Board advocates on behalf of all Tribal Governments and American Indians/Alaska Natives in their efforts to provide quality health care. Visit www.nihb.org for more information.

About the National Council of Urban Indian Health

The National Council of Urban Indian Health is a 501(c)(3), membership-based organization devoted to support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally sensitive health care programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban communities.  NCUIH fulfills its mission by serving as a resource center providing advocacy, education, training, and leadership for urban Indian health care providers. Visit http://www.ncuih.org/ for more information.